Gen. Raúl Castro Ruz
Jose Ramon Machado Ventura is the Secretariat of Cuba's Political Bureau and is one of Cuba's Vice Presidents. He is also largely seen as Raul Castro's right-hand man. Born in 1930, Machado is known in Cuba as a "historicos" or a member of the original Cuban Revolution against the Batista government. Machado was trained as a physician and cared for members of Castro's rebel army. Machado's position of Secretariat charges him with integrating socialist ideology into the every day affairs of Cuba's education programs. This position coupled with his historical involvement in the party means that he is known within Cuba but is often overlooked by the foreign press.
Following Fidel Castro's 1 August, 2006 ceding of power to his brother Raul, Fidel granted Machado his traditional power as the leader for all national and international education projects. This was seen by many as an effort to secure the influence of the old guard in any power sharing arrangement in a post-Fidel Cuba.
Miguel Diaz-Canel replaced Jose Ramon Machado Ventura on 24 February 2013, one of the historicos of the guerrilla struggle in the Sierra Maestra Mountains. Cuba's 614 delegates to the National Assembly (NA) convened on 24 February 2008 to elect the country's ruling 31-member Council of State (CoS). The new council leadership consisted of Raul Castro as president and Jose Ramon Machado Ventura as first vice president. The international press, and diplomatic corps, obsession with Machado Ventura as a hard-liner is highly exaggerated. Machado has been a hard-liner all his life because Fidel was a hard-liner. There is nothing inherent in Machado, or any of the others in the new Council of State, that makes them true ideologues of any viewpoint other than that of Fidel. Machado Ventura was widely perceived as more loyal to Raul than any other official within the Cuban Regime. This loyalty was the primary factor in Machado's appointment, as Raul considers internal stability and preservation of the status quo as his chief objectives in this period of transition, far more important than economic progress. Raul and the "old guard" were not trusting of Cuba's younger generation, and postulated that they would cling to power as long as they could.
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